Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

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Location: New York City

A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Real AARP Agenda!

Who would have thought that the AARP agenda, which I should really sign up for (being over 50 and all), is against the troops and for gay marriage?????

Well, this truly insane ad campaign by the GOP is making that point. Apparently the GOP and Bush & Co. believe that if you confabulate support for gay marriage with negative support for the troops you will gain support for the PRIVITIZATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY. In other words, you are against the phasing out of Social Security if you are against the troops and for gay marriage. WTF?

Who are these lunatics? And why are they in charge?

After the last election my fear is that the American public is susceptible to this type of propaganda!

Is this more of Gannon/Guckergate; Armstronggate; Gallaghergate; Foxgate; fauxnewsgate?

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Lynne Stewart Conviction and the American Public.

Every so often I am reminded that a very large portion of the American public doesn’t view the U.S. Constitution as something sacred. I am reminded that many in the American public believe that it only applies to those it likes and shouldn’t apply to those it doesn’t like. The Lynne Stewart case is a case in point.

Lynne Stewart repeatedly had clients that the general public found repugnant. Be they criminals or terrorists, her clients did not have public support. Quite often she was a court appointed attorney, as she was in the case at hand. But as any good defense attorney, she was diligent and zealously represented her clients, as she was required to do under the canons that cover responsible and ethical legal representation.

Now, any member of the American public would want this kind of representation from their defense attorney. One of the bedrocks of this representation is the attorney-client privilege. This privilege, and sixth amendment right, holds that communication and work product having to do with the representation of the client is undiscoverable and off limits to the government.

The Special Administrative Measures (SAM’s) that Attorney Stewart was forced to agree to in order to represent her court appointed client violate this constitutional right. A right that can only be waived by the client. These SAM's authorize the government to “monitor” attorney-client communications.

The SAM’s are regulations, not codified criminal laws. The melding of using evidence gathered under these regulations, and in the aftermath of 9/11, is overreaching of the worst kind and I believe will put all Americans who find themselves caught up in the criminal justice system at risk.

Lynne Stewart’s conviction will embolden prosecutors at every level to engage in even more prosecutorial misconduct.

So, to those Americans who think that it can’t happen to them, I say we have two of our fellow Americans (that we know of) in detention indefinitely without charges and another of our fellow Americans has just recently been returned to the United States from Saudi Arabia, where he was allegedly tortured. He faces a trial in which the court is being asked to entertain legal theories of the case that cannot be revealed to the defense.

So, also to the American public which thinks that these extraordinary measures are there to protect American citizens from the terrorists, I say what is to say that you will not be caught up in the ever expanding web and how can you be so sure? What charities have you contributed to? Who has come to your home for a party? Do you know what all of your accountant's clients are up to? Do you know what all of your relatives are up to? And how do you define fellow Americans?

First they rounded up the foreigners, now they have actually rounded up and convicted an American citizen whose job was to protect constitutional rights, in violation of the Sixth Amendment. Make no mistake about it, a defense attorney’s job is to protect our rights under the U.S. Constitution. Not just the rights of those we approve of, but everyone’s rights.

That so many of the American public are untroubled by this administration’s actions troubles me more than the fact that people in power seek absolute power and control. What troubles me most is that citizens would willingly give up their rights and the rights of their fellow Americans.

To read a very cogent and detailed account of the Lynne Stewart case you should read this article by Elaine Cassel.

If We Do This to American Citizens . . .?

I always hear the argument that we have to engage in unlawful behavior to protect fellow Americans from the terrorists. Well, the defendant in this case, with the secret legal theory, is a U.S. Citizen, born in the USA, who was allegedly terrorized by our allies, the Saudis, perhaps at our government’s behest. My argument is that when our government acts above the law and our fellow Americans allow it, the terrorists have won.

Why Not Just Take a Match to the Constitution?

So, let’s recap. We hold detainees in secret, we investigate citizen’s records in secret, we have secret evidence that the defense isn’t privy to, and now we have legal theories that are too secret for the defense to defend against.

What have we become and why are we letting this happen?

TalkLeft, DailyKos and Sideshow bring this up.

Where is the Main Stream Media on this?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

A Former Dittohead Speaks!

This post, by a former Dittohead, is wonderful and so very thoughtful. I do have to wonder how he could have been a Dittohead in the first place. He seems, unlike the Dittoheads I have known, able to understand that 2+2=4, and he is really able to connect the dots.

He gives a very insightful analysis of where we are in a diary at DailyKos. It is pretty much what I think many people saw coming down the tunnel, and it wasn’t the light at the end, but in fact the train. In spite of the seriousness of his predictions and analysis, he also manages to include a few good laughs.

If this former Dittohead can see the light, is there hope for U.S. Citizens as a whole? I am an eternal optimist.

So, what exactly brought him to the “reality-based community?” Inquiring minds want to know!

Worth the read.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Who Better Than Negroponte?

I guess this administration believes that it can do anything and the U.S. Public will fall in line. And, I guess they will.

Negroponte, the former Ambassador to Honduras, has first hand knowledge and experience with terror: that is terrorizing the Honduran citizens. He also has first hand experience scrubbing intelligence to fit the Administration's policies.

So, it would seem that he is perfect to be the Intelligence Czar.

The U.S. has fallen so far down the slippery slope that it may be impossible to recover our sanity.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

More of the Propaganda Machine Exposed!

So, what else is new? The Bush/Rove, nee Goebbels, propaganda machine is once again exposed for what it is. Well, let us see, we have Armstrong Williams, Gillespie, and McManus. But, what is different here is that Mr. Gannon, the shill, actually had access to classified CIA documents in the Plame investigation. Now, how did he get access to those? And, why did Scotty actually know this faux reporter's alias? This strikes me as a real propaganda scandal

The question is why does this administration have to rely on propaganda as opposed to just information? They already have the Fox News and the Washington Times, etc., what more do they need?

Inquiring minds want to know!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

This is Reprehensible and Criminal!

We are doing grave damage to our soldiers in Iraq. This piece in the NYT is horrifying as to what is happening to the medical personnel and the detainees in Iraq. The Pentagon and this Administration are responsible for what is happening and we need to find a way to make them answerable for this situation. I cried as I read this piece. This is just more of this Administration’s lack of care for the rule of law and moral behavior. I am posting the whole piece here as I think it is too important to be left to the NYT archive system. This is horrifying.

Read this and weep.

February 4, 2005
Triage at Abu Ghraib

YOU probably remember the photograph. A tiny female M.P. in baggy fatigues stands over a nude Iraqi man, holding him on a leash. He lies limp, on his side, utterly humiliated, an icon of wartime excess.

The conduct depicted in that photo is difficult to justify under any circumstances. But as it turns out, a few weeks before the photo was taken, use of a leash was approved on medical grounds, according to the Army doctor who commanded the medical unit that cared for Abu Ghraib's prisoners and the American soldiers who guarded them.

During an inquiry we conducted for The New England Journal of Medicine, the doctor, Maj. David Auch, told us that some of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib were psychotic and out of control. One, he said, would repeatedly strip off his clothes and smash his head against the wall. After handcuffs and a helmet failed to stop him and with straitjackets unavailable, some soldiers suggested the leash. Major Auch granted their request. "My concern was whatever it took to keep him from getting hurt," he said.

It is easy to criticize Major Auch for allowing M.P.'s to use a leash, but it is difficult to say what he should have done instead. He had antipsychotic drugs on hand but no psychiatrists to prescribe them, and he lacked the experience to give these powerful drugs himself.

So the leashed detainee went untreated, as did hundreds of others with mental disorders. The lone psychologist who accompanied Major Auch, First Lt. Joseph Wehrman, was troubled by what he found on their weekly visits. Up to 5 percent of the detainee population (which averaged 2,000 in late 2003 and early 2004) was mentally ill, Lieutenant Wehrman told us, but to his knowledge, none of the prisoners received medication.

The atmosphere at Abu Ghraib hardly promoted sanity. Mortar shells landed almost daily, according to military personnel we interviewed, and prisoners often rioted, sometimes using smuggled weapons, with deadly effect. In late 2003, Major Auch's unit set up a field hospital, bringing a full-time medical presence to the prison for the first time. For the dozen or so clinicians assigned to the hospital, the daily routine was surreal.

At times the hospital lacked basic supplies, according to members of the clinical staff, and at times it maintained a surgical service without surgeons. Sometimes the hospital ran out of chest tubes, intravenous fluids or medicines. Medical staff members improvised, taking tubes from patients when they died and reusing them, without sterilization.

Physician's assistants and general practitioners amputated limbs, a dentist did heart surgery, and Major Auch begged and bartered with other medical units for drugs and intravenous fluids. When they ran out of blood sugar test strips for Abu Ghraib's many diabetics, according to a medic assigned to the unit, they gave insulin by guessing the dose and watching for bad reactions.

Amid murderous shortages, there were paradoxes of plenty. Major Auch's men received sophisticated equipment like digital X-ray machines, several said, but they weren't taught how to use it. And in fact, a psychiatrist was assigned to Abu Ghraib for a few months. But he treated no patients; that wasn't his job. He was supposed to help military intelligence make interrogation plans.

Through their nerve and initiative under fire, Abu Ghraib's clinicians saved lives. To try to do so, they broke rules: dentists aren't supposed to operate on hearts, and physician's assistants don't take off arms or legs.

Nor do doctors manage mental patients by putting them on leashes. We don't condone this practice, and there can be no excuse for the torture and other abuse that many detainees endured at Abu Ghraib. But we are not inclined to blame Major Auch. The men and women who risked their lives to care for Iraqis and Americans alike were put in impossible circumstances by indifference or worse from above.

Pentagon spokesmen say the Army did its best, under trying circumstances, to provide medical care to both troops and detainees. On the battlefield, military medicine performed superbly, keeping ratios of killed to wounded G.I.'s to historic lows. But at Abu Ghraib, the Army all but abdicated its responsibility to provide care to the thousands of people it kept in custody. This neglect bred dire conditions and desperate measures.

The catastrophic failings of medical care at Abu Ghraib put American lives at risk and violated the United States' obligations to care decently for detainees. The soldiers who snapped and posed for the photos of abuse are being called to account. But the focus on their culpability diverts attention from the causal relationship between the Pentagon's priorities and the hellish conditions that both prisoners and their captors endured. This larger story, of conditions that ensured neglect and invited cruelty, is being ignored.

M. Gregg Bloche teaches law and health policy at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins universities, where Jonathan H. Marks is a visiting fellow in bioethics.
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Saturday, February 05, 2005

Behind the Smoke and Mirrors of Social Security?

Is it possible that while we are all debating the Bush Social Security Scheme, something even more outrageous is going on behind the curtain? A little noticed remark in the SOTU speech on Wednesday caught my eyes and ears.

“Justice is distorted, and our economy is held back, by irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims – and I urge Congress to pass legal reforms this year.” G. W. Bush, SOTU, 2005.

Now, immediately I thought of Halliburton and Cheney’s little asbestos problem. You see, during Cheney’s tenure as CEO at Halliburton, he made a “very bad business decision.” He acquired, for Halliburton, Dresser Industries, coincidentally a business that had very close ties to GWB’s grandfather and his father, 41.

Apparently, Cheney, captain of industry, didn’t understand the term “due diligence.” He failed to notice all the asbestos claims, both in the States and abroad, against Dresser. In one pesky “class action” case there was a $30 million award. Also, there are billions of dollars in claims in other countries.

So, for all the conspiracy theorists out there, thankfully there was a convenient war to help out Halliburton get some much needed cash to avert a possible bankruptcy.

And now while we are all in an uproar about the pending Social Security Scheme, below the radar is another attempt to help out Cheney and Halliburton with those “frivolous asbestos claims.” Congress is set to vote on FAIR this week.

What are we going to do about this?

Contact your representatives NOW.

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Vote No on Torture

Call your Senators and tell them to VOTE NO ON GONZALES!